Imperial War Museum Image of Social Interpretation Blog title

Wi-fi: Make do and Mend?

A 'Basic Wireless' manual, belonging to SOE agent Mme Cormeau from wireless training.

One of the problems with R&D digital lifecycles and museum exhibition lifecycles is that they are completely different. The pace of technology change is misaligned with the fiscal, creation, development and installation cycles of museums.

In a climate in which new technology platforms emerge on a weekly basis, there is a dramatic mismatch between the cycle of technology and the long planning cycles that exist for most museums exhibitions.  Social Interpretation is no exception.  We came in very late to the build of the Family in Wartime exhibition, and it’s fantastic that we could incorporate SI into the exhibition.  It looks really good with the time and resource we had available. But it does mean due to this lack of time and resources that a few issues are now cropping up.

 One of the issues is the wi-fi connectivity; we worked really hard to ensure that IWM had free wi-fi access to the gallery space, but it is currently a little up and down . We also created some nifty postcards advertising the fact that you can get free wi-fi.  We believe it’s really important to advertise the availability of wi-fi to visitors.  And that it needs to be simple to access and very reliable.  From the observations and trails I have been doing over the past week, we aren’t quite there yet.  I’m sure it’s just a case of a few tweaks here and there.  But until the wi-fi is working consistently we can’t really say anything about QR code usage.  I’m sure you are all dying to know whether people actually use QR codes or not!  There is also an issue with 3G availability and slow loading times. So I’m not going to jump to any conclusions about the QR code data until we have fully reliable connectivity.  But from the visitors observations so far, there could be many other reasons for the results we are seeing. I’ll explain these in another post.

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